Public elementary teachers ask for respect in negotiations

Elementary teachers picket outside of GDCI in Goderich, a Grade 7 to 12 public school in the Avon Maitland district.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News Huron GODERICH – Teacher unrest is not about money, says the head of the local public elementary teachers’ union.

“The teachers of Avon Maitland understand the fiscal realities that Ontario finds itself in. We haven’t been clamouring for a raise. In fact, I haven’t heard any of my members state they want a raise at all. They’re okay with a wage freeze,” said Merlin Leis, who is president of the Avon Maitland Elementary Teachers Federation.

Nearly 1,000 contract and occasional public elementary teachers in Huron and Perth counties are back in the classrooms today after a one-day strike that kicks off rotating strikes across the province organized by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. They continue with the work-to-rule campaign, withdrawing from extra-curricular activities, class excursions and extra duties outside of delivery of the curriculum.

“It’s about the province imposing terms and conditions on us. Things that have been negotiated years and years ago; all of a sudden the government simply says ‘oh, we’re going to change things’ and that’s just not the way to treat us with respect,” Leis said.

However, yesterday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty a statement in response to the one-day teachers’ strikes that accused ETFO of disrupting “nine years of labour peace over a disagreement about pay.”

He said it was regrettable students were missing class time and families were making alternate arrangements.

“While inconvenient, these one-day legal strike actions do not warrant the intervention of the government and are a small price to pay to protect full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes and 10,000 teaching jobs,” he said.

He pointed out teachers represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association have reached negotiated agreements with the government.

Written by on December 11, 2012 in Communities, Public School - 1 Comment

One Comment on "Public elementary teachers ask for respect in negotiations"

  1. Ann December 11, 2012 at 11:44 am · Reply

    Very typical of the Education Premier to continue to play divide and conquer politics with education communities.

    I have to wonder about the union asking for respect from government though. Didn’t they ask for the same from the last two governments under Rae and Harris?

    What of the respect by their own union to fine members $500 a day. That’s not very respectful.

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